5 YEARS AGO ''After [writing the movie] Smoke Signals, I was being courted by all sorts of agents and managers -- being sent flowers and muffin baskets and mash notes. It's odd for an Indian to be so beloved by white people. I felt like a Cabbage Patch doll.''
NOW ''Making a movie doesn't hold the same sort of crazy passion that books do. I die, I fall over, and I'm depressed and miserable if I'm not writing a book. If I never made a movie again, I'd be all right. But if I didn't write books, I'd be a shell.''
5 YEARS FROM NOW ''I've been playing basketball since birth, but it's been 17 years since I dunked it. I've really been training hard. I don't know if there's an official record, but I want to create one: The Longest Time Between Dunks.''
AGE 36 CURRENT Ten Little Indians (short stories) EXPERIENCE Smoke Signals screenplay, Indian Killer (novel) NEXT A book about his war hero grandfather REFERENCES The New Yorker, which in '99 named him one of the ''20 best young fiction writers''
Bounce, Sondheim's first new musical since '94, is Broadway-bound ...Wiener takes it all: It's National Hot Dog Month!